SOPHIE T. LVOFF// Hell’s Bells / Sulfur / Honey

Hell’s Bells / Sulfur / Honey

"There are some things that can’t be conveyed—
description, for instance,
The sundown light on that dog-hair lodgepole pine
and the dead branches of spruce trees.

They hold its brilliance against them
For a tick or two
before it chameleons away.
No one is able to describe this gold to bronze to charcoal, no one.
So move along, boy, just move along."
– Charles Wright, Sundown Blues

A difficulty lies in conveying the essence of a place that at once aches to show itself as full of allure, yet only reveals the depth of its beauty to those who reside within it. Hell’s Bells / Sulfur / Honey is a body of color photographs that serves as a testament to New Orleans’ radiance and darkness as well as an allusion to the tension between beauty and hardship inherent in the city. Through the formal elements of color, geometry, texture, reflection, light and shadow, a view of the lived-in environs of New Orleans is described. The novelist George Washington Cable writes in The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life, “…and in the afternoon they entered a land—but such a land! A land hung in mourning, darkened by gigantic cypresses, submerged; a land of reptiles, silence, shadow, decay”. The archival inkjet prints of the series open lines of sight onto this land, with surfaces directly on view as opposed to being under glass or lamination. The images call attention to repeating forms and themes found within the city—the imposing nature of tropical foliage, late afternoon sunlight on cement, decay, vehicles, native architecture and bright color. Each description is tinged with a fleeting beauty captured on tangible film. The noise of the city is sucked out of the photograph’s frame, the camera capturing the briefly illuminated phenomena of New Orleans.